Fighting the Fear of GMO's

The Lempert Report
April 29, 2014

A recent article, by Mark O’Brien in the Buffalo News, discusses GMO's and argues there’s nothing to fear.

We’re all familiar with the arguments for and against the use of genetically modified organisms.  A recent article, by Mark O’Brien in the Buffalo News, takes on this red hot issue and argues there’s nothing to fear.  Anti-GMO activists and entrepreneurs argue that GMOs are products of science, not nature, and therefore they pose health risks. The solution should be banning them, or at the very least, labeling them.  On the other side of the fence however are numerous studies showing that foods derived from GMOs are safe. Reports from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences found that no adverse health effects attributed to GMOs have been documented in the human population. Moreover, they conclude that GMOs reduce the application of insecticides, the most dangerous herbicides and overall have fewer adverse effects on the environment than non-GMO crops produced conventionally.

Despite scientific research that GM foods have been shown to be safe, the anti-GMO movement represents a growing interest in taking control of the food we eat and a demand for transparency. Last November, Proposition 37 in California requiring labeling of grocery products containing GM foods was defeated with businesses mostly arguing that labeling would incur additional costs to the consumer. 

O’Briens’ article explains a simple truth, GMO’s are sophisticated but so is agriculture, and it always has been. GMO’s were introduced commercially in the mid 1990’s and adopted by most farmers, but “agriculture is a high-tech revolution in progress that began 10,000 years ago.”  GMO foods should be labeled, and arguing about additional costs is a distraction because the argument should be about health. Consumers should be in control, they should be educated and there should be transparency about the food they eat. Educated consumers can advocate for solutions that are beneficial for their health, and many of these solutions may involve new technologies and with them, as with GMO’s, the argument should lie in the scientific research.